Seaports Magazine - Spring 2014 - (Page 28)

» GUEST VIEWPOINT Port and Maritime Environmental Compliance Planning Starts at the Top By Micheal W. Dobbs and William J. Jackson Jackson Gilmour & Dobbs, PC E nvironmental planning and compliance is essential for any port or maritime operation, especially those operating around industrial areas or water. The close proximity to "waters of the United States" coupled with the often hazardous nature of the commodities handled in maritime facilities heightens the need for effective and efficient environmental planning. Environmental compliance plans and other structured internal environmental procedures are commonplace for construction and development projects. The EPA even provides guidance for environmental compliance planning in its 2005 publication "Managing Your Environmental Responsibilities: A Planning Guide for Construction and Development." Industry organizations also provide guidance and certification for large-scale, organization-wide environmental compliance and planning. ISO 14001 (2004) sets criteria for environmental management systems that are designed to protect the environment, prevent pollution and improve environmental performance. Good environmental planning, however, can be beneficial for any organization, whether large or small. A comprehensive written environmental compliance plan can ensure that the organization is prepared to meet regulatory requirements, account for compliance costs and be ready to respond to any environmental incident. This enables the organization to run more efficiently and avoids unnecessary cost and liability associated with ad hoc environmental compliance and response. Good environmental compliance planning starts at the top. It begins with a management focus on compliance and planning, including providing the necessary resources. It includes having knowledgeable and trained personnel oversee and 28 AAPA SEAPORTS MAGAZINE implement the environmental policies and procedures for the organization. Depending on the size of the organization, this might be a compliance department, a dedicated environmental compliance manager, or even a key employee whose duties include responsibility for compliance. With the right team or person in place and an emphasis on planning and compliance, an effective and efficient environmental compliance plan can be developed and implemented. Whether project specific or organization wide, compliance planning must include a look-ahead assessment of the environmental issues, permitting and actions required. Legal and technical expertise may be necessary to ensure that all areas are covered. With full knowledge of the organization's operations or the project, environmental issues that might be encountered can be identified and planned for. For example, a compliance system can identify legally required permits that must be obtained and factor in any permitting restrictions that need to be addressed. A compliance system can provide the structure to develop and budget for the various required mitigation plans, like Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasures Plans, Hazardous Waste Handling and Disposal Plans, Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plans and Air Quality Management. Planning for environmental compliance ahead of time helps ensure that an organization is prepared for issues that might arise and allows for effective budgeting and cost management. With the ever-increasing costs of complying with environmental regulations, early and effective planning is essential. Once environmental compliance measures are identified, they can be incorporated into a written compliance plan and communicated to the affected persons. Effective communication and documentation of the compliance plan is also essential. It is therefore important to design the plan so that the persons responsible for implementation understand the requirements and the actions necessary for each activity or function. Importantly, the organization's commitment to implementing the plan and to environmental compliance must be communicated and reinforced throughout the organization so that the plan is actually put into action. After an effective environmental compliance plan is put into place, record keeping and documentation of the environmental compliance must be maintained. Good record keeping will allow for necessary auditing of the plan and its implementation. Because governmental agency enforcement (local, state and federal) often focuses on inspections and audits, easily assessable records are extremely important. Having an effective environmental compliance plan that is supported by proper record keeping allows the organization to quickly prepare for inspections and easily demonstrate compliance with regulatory standards. Also, adequate environmental compliance planning is often a mitigating factor in the event there is a regulatory violation or environmental incident. Lastly, and arguably most importantly, proper planning can help mitigate any environmental incident, like a spill or release of hazardous substances. With proper planning and training of personnel, a hazardous substance spill or other environmental incident can be quickly contained, limiting any human health or environmental damage and reducing an organization's ultimate liability. ● Micheal W. Dobbs and William J. Jackson are shareholders with Jackson Gilmour & Dobbs, PC in Houston, Texas. Jackson Gilmour & Dobbs, PC focuses on environmental litigation and regulatory matters and representation of port industry clients.

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Seaports Magazine - Spring 2014

AAPA Headquarters
From the President’s Desk
Public Sector Agencies with Private Sector Expectations
Welcoming Veterans to Port Ranks
Working with Stakeholders: The Buck Stops at the CEO’s Office
Words of Wisdom from Long-Standing Port Executives
PPM® Certification Readies Executives for the Top
Facing Challenges Head On
Ports are Critical to U.S. Economy’s Health
The Changing Paradigm of Transportation Executives
Port and Maritime Environmental Compliance Planning Starts at the Top
Comprehensive Records Retention Plan a Must for Ports
Saint John Brings the Port to the Classroom
Barbados on Track for Record Cruise Growth
Santa Marta Focuses on the Environment, Community and Operational Efficiency
Northwest Ports Partner to Further Cut Diesel Emissions

Seaports Magazine - Spring 2014